The good days when America and Russia were friends and allies

After the October Revolution of 1917, the United States refused to recognize the government of Soviet Russia but on November 16, 1933 U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Maxim Litvinov exchanged notes on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Soviet diplomat Alexander Troyanovsky was appointed the first ambassador of the USSR to the United States, and William Bullitt was appointed the American ambassador to the Soviet Union.

To commemorate the 90th anniversary of this date let us recall some good moments in the relations between the two nations.

The original Thirteen Colonies began to engage in trade with Russia in 1763. During the Revolutionary War, Russian Empress Catherine the Great decided to remain neutral in the conflict, despite British pleas for assistance. Russian neutrality proved significant for the victory of the American rebels. As the American Civil War unfolded, Tsar Alexander II pledged in a letter to President Abraham Lincoln that Russia supported the “maintenance of the American Union as one ‘indivisible nation.’” In 1863, Russia dispatched two Navy squadrons to the ports of New York and San Francisco as a symbolic gesture of support.

During WWII the U.S. and USSR were allies in a major global conflict. April 25, 1945 marks the day of a historic meeting between Soviet and American soldiers on the Elbe River in the city of Torgau in Germany on the eve of their joint victory over Nazi Germany.

President Richard Nixon during his term in the White House sought a thaw in American-Soviet relations, known as détente. Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev agreed with Nixon which opened broad possibilities for the solution of pressing international issues.

President Ronald Reagan first met reform-minded Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva in 1985. Their next meeting that would prove to be the most consequential event took place in the Icelandic capital Reykjavík in October 1986.

George H.W. Bush talked in 1990 about a “Europe whole and free” and a new “security architecture from Vancouver to Vladivostok,” while Boris Yeltsin, during his 1992 address to the joint chambers of Congress, exclaimed, “God bless America.”

On November 15, 2001 George W. Bush said the following: “It’s my honor also to introduce President Putin to Crawford.  I bet a lot of folks here, particularly the older folks, never dreamt that an American President would be bringing the Russian President to Crawford, Texas. A lot of people never really dreamt that an American President and a Russian President could have established the friendship that we have.”

On April 25, 2020 U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued the following joint statement: “The “Spirit of the Elbe” is an example of how our countries can put aside differences, build trust, and cooperate in pursuit of a greater cause. As we work today to confront the most important challenges of the 21st century, we pay tribute to the valor and courage of all those who fought together to defeat fascism. Their heroic feat will never be forgotten.”